Viticulture in 17th-century Moravia
Source document: . Středověké a novověké zdroje tradiční kultury : sborník příspěvků ze semináře konaného 30. listopadu 2005 v Ústavu evropské etnologie. Editor: Křížová, Alena. Vyd. 1. Brno: Ústav evropské etnologie Masarykovy univerzity, 2006, pp. -105
Viticulture was subject to historical events, most significantly the Thirty Years' War and the frequent incursion throughout the 17th century of foreign armies onto the territory of south-east Moravia. At the beginning of that turbulent century the wine boom reached its peak, and vineyards in Moravia accounted for an area of 92,294 merice [1 merice = 0.19 hectare]. After the Thirty Years' War 51% of vineyards in Moravia had been abandoned, a number of villages needed to be resettled and it is highly probable that - as a study of the Ian [= tract of land] records indicates - many of the abandoned smallholdings were resettled by agricultural labourers. It is clear that not every owner of a vineyard was simultaneously the incumbent of a smallholding with agricultural land. The second half of the 17th century saw the renewal of viticulture and viniculture and the establishment of vineyards in new locations which had previously served as pastures or fields, and the emergence of wine growers of skill from among those smallholders and labourers, each of whom would have had an eighth or quarter share in a vineyard. According to the Land Registry of Maria Theresa, the area claimed by vineyards in Moravia in the mid 18th century was as follows: 3,266 merice dominical and 86,320 merice rustical. We know from the archives that circular cellars in the earth were termed "slugs", "winepress huts", and "press houses". There were only few such constructions in each parish and they were used by many wine growers. Vineyard owners who did not live in the immediate locality often felt the need for their own presses; at the foot of a vineyard's slope they would build a cellar with a press on two levels, where the deck was used by the vincura (labourer/wine-grower) or even the owner of the vineyard for the purpose of sleeping. Later, vineyard presses were built by adult children who did not inherit the house of their parents; perhaps, indeed, these were part of the family settlement. In this way the new social category of the "presshouse man" came into being. In those times, small wine growers had their cellars - for reasons of security - directly in their homes or within the village. The first country winepress houses and the emergence of areas rich in cellars as we know these today, we can trace to the 18th century; these developments are interrelated with changes in the wine tax law and in general developments in viticulture/viniculture as these disciplines reached maturity.
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